A perfect match

Each four years the World Cup provides major excitement for football fans. This time most of the games are perfectly timed for TV viewing in Scotland. And shortly after the tournament ends the Commonwealth Games will kick in. Retailers and suppliers tell Scottish Grocer how they plan to match football fever with big-night-in goodies.

WITH the World Cup, Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games, and the Ryder Cup on the go this summer, there’s going to be plenty of sport on the box. But for consumers working 9-5, or other hours, the big race will be about getting home in time to watch events unfold.

Blantyre retailer Mo Razzaq – a new chiller for quick meals, like pizza, in time for the World Cup.
Blantyre retailer Mo Razzaq – a new chiller for quick meals, like pizza, in time for the World Cup.

• With that in mind Mo Razzaq, owner of Premier Mo’s Convenience Store in Blantyre, is all set to highlight ready-meals and food-to-go products as he targets big-night-in sales this summer.
And he and his wife and partner Roxy have been willing to invest to grab the opportunity.
“We’ve brought in another chiller that will be dedicated to food-to-go and ready meals in time for the World Cup” he said. “People can come in, grab something to eat, then head home to watch the events.
“We’ll also have ready-to-cook products available, things like stir fries where shoppers can take them home, cook them and settle in for the night.”
Mo’s also planning a series of fun competitions and many other activities, all set to be publicised through the store’s heavily visited Facebook page, that connect to the summer’s biggest televised sporting attractions.

• Nisa Extra on Perth Road, Dundee highlights confectionery, crisps, soft drinks and other big-night-in favourites all year round.
The store uses a promotional gondola-end display close to the entrance to the store, which features many of the impulse lines involved in deals in each of Nisa’s three-week promotion periods. The display uses vibrant point-of-sale material to make the deals unmissable.
Store manager Marc McCabe said: “Big-night-in events are massive for us. In this economy people are choosing to stay in rather then go out, and with the Commonwealth Games and World Cup we predict that categories such as crisps, sports drinks and alcohol will sell well for us.
“For these events we’ve been working closely with the likes of Barr and Carlsberg on in-store events and promotions.
“The shooting events for the Games are being held up in Barryburn, with the Athlete’s Village just up the road from us here in Dundee, so we’re planning to be very heavily involved with the Games.
“We’ve already secured a deal with Barr to sell Strathmore Water at 20p a bottle. We’re also planning to run a couple of World Cup and Commonwealth Games-themed events.”

• Edinburgh-based independent co-operative Scotmid reckons retailers need to ‘think seasonal’ and realise that in summer you might be talking about both the big night in and the big day out … in the garden.
Tom Gibson, Scotmid retail marketing manager, said: “In the summer it basically means entertaining in and around the family home. It might be a barbecue or picnic.
“If we have weather like last summer, plus all the events that are lined up, then it could be a fantastic season for us. That’s what we’re planning for.
“The World Cup is going to be a key event for us because the games are on at good times. We see that as a massive opportunity to look over the range – things like impulse products and barbecue food – and see what will give a real boost to trade.
“We’ve got our own events planned in and around our stores. The key focus is the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup, but we’re also working with Tennent’s to plan activity round T in the Park.
“We’ve got around 40,000 customers on Facebook so we’ll be using that to promote events and run competitions. That way we can reach out to customers every time and they’ll know that Scotmid is a destination for their big event.”
Which product categories does he see as especially important to big-night-in and other home entertaining?
“Impulse categories such as confectionery, crisps and snacks and summer versions of beer, wines and spirits are the big ones,” he said.
“We reckon that during that period 63% of consumers will be stocking up on impulse products in a convenience store and that 61% will be buying beers, wines and spirits.
“New products like your fruit ciders or the Tennent’s Lemon T, produce a real point of difference for customers coming to our stores.
“Ready meals is going to be another big category during the World Cup.
“We also estimate that 39% of consumers are going to be buying pizzas.
“If, as a retailer, you can get these products lined up with a World Cup theme on them it just provides another prompt to say get ready for the big night in.”

• At wholesaler and symbol group company Nisa, Nick Slater, business manager for chill, was another who said that while the World Cup and other events are certainly likely to bring excellent sales opportunities, the big night in provided scope for sales all through the year and that home entertaining events aren’t limited to night time or, for that matter, to adults.
He said: “Cash conscious consumers are cutting back on expensive nights out and replicating the experience by entertaining at home, purchasing food and drink they might have previously enjoyed on the town.
“Exactly how big the customers spend will depend on the way retailers go about enticing their customers in. The correct products and pack formats will go a long way to help, but this is an area that will really benefit from bundle deals, strong point-of-sale material and dramatically merchandised bays of associated lines.
“Creating theatre to excite customers will encourage impulse buys.
“The so-called ‘big night in’ can mean many things for the shopper on the lookout for key ingredients to make their specific social occasion a success.
“It could be the summer of sport on the agenda – headlined by the football World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, which will likely involve plenty of beer and snacks and perhaps a barbecue.
“It could be a children’s sleepover – where crisps, confectionery and carbonated soft drinks are central to the gathering. It might be an evening in front of the TV watching the latest blockbuster with a pizza or ready-meal and a bottle of wine.
“One of the main opportunities for big-night-in chilled foods is National BBQ Week, which runs from 26 May. Barbecues aside, the main chilled lines that Nisa members will be focusing on are the more typical big-night-in products such as Heritage pizzas, dips, olives and garlic bread.
“Retailers will need to be ready for a flurry of house parties, barbecues and football-themed home events, by having the correct range of alcohol, soft drinks, snacks and pizzas, so start preparing fixtures now.”
Specifically on alcohol, Asa Chamberlain, Nisa business manager, said: “The World Cup gives retailers as big a sales opportunity for beer as Christmas. When you consider that 82% of football viewers drink lager during these tournaments, according to Carlsberg, it’s easy to see why.
“Key to Nisa retailers’ success will be chilling the correct formats – 80% of beer and cider convenience shoppers consume their purchase within two hours. Ideally, fridge space should be for four, 10 and 12 packs.”

• The team behind frozen pizza brand Chicago Town says consumers are still cautious when it comes to spending on eating out, but treating at home is still important. And it reckons the World Cup will provide a big boost to frozen pizza sales.
The company added a limited-edition, takeaway-style World Cup pizza to its range this month. The BBQ Sizzler World Cup pizza features a BBQ sauce stuffed crust, mozzarella, chorizo, red onions and red and yellow peppers.
Paula Wyatt, marketing manager for frozen for Chicago Town, said: “Frozen pizzas are perfect for both planned and impromptu social occasions – great for sharing as part of the big night in.
“IRI data shows the total UK frozen pizza market is worth £378m and 41m people consume frozen pizza each year.

• Competitor pizza brand Goodfellas has also seen a pre-World Cup addition to the range.
The brand owner says Nacho Fella is the first pizza to combine nachos and pizza in a single product. It’s aimed at men looking for a quick meal to eat while watching sport on TV.
The Nacho Fella includes cream cheese, jalapeño peppers and crunchy nachos, topped off with a sprinkling of coriander.